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This may not resonate with everyone but I need a little advice. 

 

As many of you have already read I am getting a divorce. The main reason being that of my deconversion. My wife and I have come to a point where she especially feels like our lives have taken two different directions (which they have). And that I am not the same man she feel in love with and married. I was a preacher when we married, she met me at the height of my zeal for Bible God back before I started questioning. So I understand that this step is probably best for us both and the family. 

 

Here is the dilemma. My parents are devout Christians with some beliefs that even when I was Christian, I thought were a little out there. I'm sure you've heard the jokes about baptists thinking they will be the only ones in heaven. ....... yeah. That's my parents. The literally believe that only members of their church will be allowed inside the Holy City. And that all other believers will have to live outside the city gates. So apparently they have a class system. 😆 but anyway that's beside the point. 

 

My problem is very soon I have to break the divorce news to them. They have no idea that anything is wrong. As far as they know I haven't been preaching anymore but they think I go to church with my wife when i can. I've not been able to tell them because I know It is going to devastate my mom. Some of you are going to say," so what, its your life she'll get over it". Let me cut ya off there. I am a mommas boy. I'm proudly a mommas boy. My real dad was a POS drug addict that spent all of his and my moms money on drugs, then took money from his mother to get groceries. They divorced when I was 4. For two years it was just me and her until my step dad married her, and two years after that adopted me. He was a great father. He made up for my real dads absence and more. Its on thing to be a great dad to your own kids, it takes a special kind of person to be a great dad to someone who isn't your own. So I have wonderful parents that have always been there for me. I haven't told them because I dont want to hurt them. I would rather them live out their days believing one day they will see their son again. Even if it is only when they decide to take a stroll outside the city gates. Lol. 

 

So when I break the news to my parents they are going to want a reason why. Understandably! They have grown to love this woman as their own. But I dont have a biblical reason for a divorce. I haven't cheated, neither did she. I'm an unbeliever but I was happy to stay with my wife. Not the reason I would want to give them anyway. Neither one of us abused the other. And they aren't going to accept that we "just grew apart" or "we fell out of love" (which we didn't, I'm pretty sure deep down we both still love the other) 

 

The only way I can see them accepting this divorce is if I tell them everything. Come clean and come out of the closet about not being Christian anymore. But I really would like to see another way. I just can't. I'm pretty sure my parents will understand why she wants to leave if I tell them the truth. But then I'm the bad guy. I dont want to be the bad guy in my parents eyes, or the lost child, the fallen one, and I dont want my mom going to the grave with that fear of not seeing me again. It breaks my heart to think about it. 

 

I dunno what to do..... they are of the once saved always saved variety. So maybe they'll still think I'm going to heaven. 

 

Any thoughts?

 

Dark Bishop

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Shit man I'm so sorry to hear this. 

 

My family basically believe the same kind of doctrine. Heck in their eyes most 'Christians' are going to hell because they don't follow the true word (Basically my ex churches teaching). When I told them I was no longer coming to church it dropped a bombshell on them. I don't know how my mum in particular deals with the my son doesn't believe in God thing, but they have probably internalized it as God will/has save me anyway. Or that I do truly believe and I'll come back into the fold one day. If your parents are of the once saved always saved they might go through a similar internalization process where they convince themselves you really are still saved.

 

The only advice I think I can offer is try and let them down gently. Maybe instead of just saying that you don't believe in God and therefore you and your wife have grown apart maybe say you have serious doubts and that has caused the two of your to reevaluate your relationship.

 

You say deep down you and your wife still love each other. You don't think the two of you can make it work? I know some couples who have one partner is an unbeliever and they live happily. They just don't talk religion.

 

Not sure what else I can add bud. If you need anything or want to chat just holler out, drop a PM etc 

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5 minutes ago, LogicalFallacy said:

 

You say deep down you and your wife still love each other. You don't think the two of you can make it work? I know some couples who have one partner is an unbeliever and they live happily. They just don't talk religion

 

I wish I could say I thought it might work. But we have already tried it. Eventually it comes up again. I thought we were doing well for awhile and that we were past it. But she had only been acting the part and suppressed her own feelings. It all started unraveling again around the same time covid hit last year. I guess the extra time at home made me notice she was being stand offish. When I started asking her what was wrong it all came back. At least this way we can both be ourselves. 

 

Its really sad. Its going to be a long goodbye for sure. We are getting the papers drawn up now. But I'm not in a hurry for her to leave and I don't think she is in a hurry to go. So she will be staying for awhile, even after, until she gets on her feet. She is practically giving me everything, I've actually had to argue with her to take some stuff. We'll see how it goes. Thanks for the advice. 🙂

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It sounds like your parents are close to your wife as well, if so, are they likely to talk to her and hear her side of the story to get the full facts?   You could go with vague answers and legal talk "we had irreconcilable differences, but its too painful to talk about, so please can we not open that wound?"

Would they accept an "I don't want to talk about it" answer?

 

The other option would be to find a softer leaving the church description.  Something like "I've doubted my faith and have been searching for answers, I've become agnostic due to doubts but wifey's faith is strong and we couldn't see eye to eye."  Many Christians have no problem with the term agnostic, when used by someone to mean "I don't know what to believe", which is a less scary step than the dreaded atheist word.

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19 minutes ago, Wertbag said:

"we had irreconcilable differences, but its too painful to talk about, so please can we not open that wound?"

Would they accept an "I don't want to talk about it"

 

Yes they are close to her. I think out of everyone I ever dated they think I chose the right one 😕

 

They probably wouldnt accept the, id rather not talk about it excuse. I doubt my dad would call my wife, mom might. This would make them think she did something wrong and I dont want to give off that perception either. So far a general I dont know where my faith lies anymore sounds like the best angle. That gives them a hope that I'll come back in time without filling them in on the full scope of my deconversion. 

 

Ugh the things we do for the sake of family. 

 

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2 hours ago, DarkBishop said:

But I'm not in a hurry for her to leave and I don't think she is in a hurry to go. So she will be staying for awhile, even after, until she gets on her feet.

This seems more significant than you both might realize.

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6 minutes ago, TheRedneckProfessor said:

This seems more significant than you both might realize.

 

Like I said. Deep down I think she still loves me. She won't say it. I dunno. Maybe I'm wrong. But either way. At this point we are getting a divorce and she plans on getting her own place when she is able. I'm kinda hoping we can establish a relationship as we are now and maybe remarry..... she knows I'd like that. I've told her as much. 

 

But maybe you have another idea looking at it from the outside. What possible significance are you seeing? 

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When I was a christian,  I was obsessed with the idea of god's will--that god had a special plan for me, a divine destiny.  Ultimately, that was the idea that eventually destroyed my faith.  It is also, incidentally, the reason I always ask christians about 10-year-old sex slaves; and also the reason I constantly find myself getting bored with life and looking for the next big thing.

 

Nonetheless, that idea was the reason why I made some of the most disastrous decisions of my life.  I left a happy and fulfilling life in Florida because it was "god's will."  I lost my first wife because it was "god's will."  I ended up remarried to a horribly toxic person, employed in a field I hated, and living in an area that deeply depressed me: all because of "god's will." 

 

Yet, I endured it; because, in tandem with a belief in divine destiny, is the glorification of sacrifice. 

 

christians get used to giving up what they want in exchange for "god's will."  Even if they hate their choices and the consequences that come, they will reconcile their current sacrifices with the glory that is to come, when god's plan finally reveals itself in perfection. 

 

Yet, often, there is that lingering, nagging doubt about it all.  That insidious thought that all of that sacrifice is really for naught.

 

Ms. Bishop's behavior seems to suggest that there's some psychology going on.  It seems like, on a subconscious level, she's trying to compromise, or reconcile, what she really actually wants versus what she believes is "god's will."  She'll "divorce" you; because you're a sinner and god doesn't want her unequally yoked.  But she'll also keep living with you, sharing meals with you, probably even going to bed with you; because deep down in her heart, that's what she really wants.  It's a difficult position for her to be in: torn and confused with her heart pulling her in two mutually exclusive directions.  The only thing you can really do is give her time and space and hope that ultimately she will end up happy.

 

I don't want to give you any false hope; because I could be dead wrong.  Even if I'm right, she still might make a final decision that is not to your liking.  But I remember, from my own life, that confusing "calm" that preceded the storm of "god's will."

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8 hours ago, DarkBishop said:

And they aren't going to accept that we "just grew apart"

Too bad, they're just going to have to accept whatever reason you give them. There's no way to make this transition absolutely painless, but it can be carried out with some dignity and hopefully some honesty as well. Good luck.

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Like the professor, I think there is something beneath the surface there.  Can you get her to postpone proceedings until you can both go to a marriage counselor or therapist?  One that is not a conservative "christian".  Maybe things can be patched up.  Or at least get some professional advice on how to handle the situation.  If you proceed with divorce It would NOT BE GOOD to "break down" when talking to your parents.  They would likely double down with the quilt, and pleas for you to return to the fold.  And they definitely need to know it is her idea to divorce.  And from my understanding of your parents (and mine) belief about divorce, she has no scriptural reason for divorce.   This might be a good card to play.

 

And a thought just crossed my mind.  This may be out in left field, but is it possible your wife is interested in someone else?  Is that what is going on beneath the surface?  Is she feeling guilty?  Is that the reason she doesn't want her fair share of stuff?  Just some thoughts.

 

If you go ahead, it will be best if you are confident with what you are doing regarding religion.  Use the agnostic approach, if that is where you are in the process.  And tell them you are confident you will see them in heaven, IF THERE ACTUALLY IS ONE.  That statement dumbfounded my family.  I told them I had gone through the rituals to be saved, was a moral person, and if there is a god he will understand why I came to my decision .  My family didn't know how to respond to that.  Dad finally said, "I guess we will have to agree to disagree."  And for years afterward only my mom made one feeble attempt to lay a guilt trip on me. 😁   Well, maybe 2.  I was surprised because she could get very dramatic at times.  HANG IN THERE!

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3 hours ago, Weezer said:

Can you get her to postpone proceedings until you can both go to a marriage counselor or therapist? 

 

We actually did some marriage counseling last year. But she had already made up her mind. She was hoping marriage counseling would open my eyes to the conclusion she had come to. However the first time we attempted to tell our daughter she freaked out. We had to back peddle and say we weren't splitting up. A week later she suggested we try counseling again. We were going to do that this year but after almost a year of not hearing her tell me she loved me or kiss me I blew up in front of the kids.... (that one is my bad, I was overly emotional and had been drinking) still I didn't say anything that wasn't true. After that we told our daughter again she took it better that time after seeing that argument.

 

3 hours ago, Weezer said:

but is it possible your wife is interested in someone else?

 

No I think she would be in more of a rush to get it over with if that was the case. I haven't seen any indications that she is interested in anyone else at this time. 

 

3 hours ago, Weezer said:

Use the agnostic approach

 

Yeah I think I'm going to have to come clean and at least tell them I'm agnostic. But your right they need to know it isn't my idea to get the divorce. 

 

Thanks weezer.

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14 hours ago, TheRedneckProfessor said:

 

I don't want to give you any false hope; because I could be dead wrong.  Even if I'm right, she still might make a final decision that is not to your liking.  But I remember, from my own life, that confusing "calm" that preceded the storm of "god's will."

 

I think I may need to PM you on this one. I dont know why I didn't think of that already. Like you I've made horrible decisions based on "Gods will" and maybe she is doing the same. Sucks that a figment of someone's imagination thousands of years ago can fuck up my marriage today........ 

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But doesn't her religion say the only scriptural divorce is for adultry?  And if you haven't committed adultry, she has no scriptural reason for divorce.  That would be her "bad", not yours.  How could that be God's will?

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45 minutes ago, Weezer said:

But doesn't her religion say the only scriptural divorce is for adultry?  And if you haven't committed adultry, she has no scriptural reason for divorce.  That would be her "bad", not yours.  How could that be God's will?

Biblically your point is true. But if I tried to push that, sure she might stay, but she would also resent me and it would be worse. Splitting up while we can still be amicable is the better option. 

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I don’t know if I can really add to what’s already been said, but I’ll add my two-cents’ worth.  First of all, I’m sorry y’all are going through this.  On the one hand it seems crazy that a family is on the brink of breaking up because of a bronze-age deity.  On the other hand, your wife sees you as no longer the “godly man” she married and had kids with, and to a believer that’s a profound change.

 

I doubt that concealing the main reason for your breakup is going to work.  The truth has a way of coming out in the end.  It does sound like your wife will have an ongoing relationship with your parents and she shouldn’t have to stay mum about your leaving Christianity and the impact of that, either with her in-laws or her own family and friends.  You know how important it is to you to have us to confide in.

 

At the same time, I think it would help to blur how you describe your deconversion somewhat.  Maybe portray it as questioning aspects of Christianity rather than having left the building completely, in order to cushion the blow.  Perhaps reveal the full extent of your deconversion over an extended period.  They may well suspect more than you realize, and sometimes it’s better not to say something out loud.

 

When a Christian finds out that a loved one has left the faith, it has to generate all kinds of questions.  Maybe it’s “how could this person turn his back on God?” or “would a loving God really allow this person to go to Hell?” Believing that a husband, son or father is going to Hell has to place some stress on one’s own belief system.  Maybe they will take refuge in the “once saved always saved” idea.

 

Other than that, all I can do is wish you the best as you go through this time. Somehow or other, this too shall pass.  

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12 hours ago, DarkBishop said:

Biblically your point is true. But if I tried to push that, sure she might stay, but she would also resent me and it would be worse. Splitting up while we can still be amicable is the better option. 

 

But pointing that out to your parents could take some of the heat off you for "ruining" the marriage.  

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6 hours ago, TABA said:

 

When a Christian finds out that a loved one has left the faith, it has to generate all kinds of questions.  

 

And for parents, one question is, "where did we go wrong".

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DarkBishop,

 

In your circumstance I would lie to my mother. I would say that you and your wife have grown apart since she insists upon formal religion such a going to church every Sunday, saying certain kinds of prayers etc. like you did when you were a preacher and first married her. You would then say that you no longer believe in one Christian religion or anther but you believe more in a personal relationship with God, and because of this your wife can no longer accept or wants to be influenced by your beliefs and therefore wants a divorce to be at peace with her own beliefs.

 

What do you think?

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3 hours ago, pantheory said:

What do you think?

 

That is a little different approach. I'll think on it. Maybe that would work. Especially since my last church is pretty much considered a cult in this area. I could blame my loss of belief in organized religion on them....... but at the same time they will most likely still have a relationship with her. If the subject comes up. It might become an issue. 

 

 

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I still say honesty now or regrets later. Save the clever strategies and obfuscations for criminal court or an online dating profile. Good luck.

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I agree with the direct and honest approach; but I also understand that just because it worked for me in my situation doesn't mean it will work for everybody in every situation.  

 

Still, less said, better said.

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Yeah yall are probably right @florduh and @TheRedneckProfessor. I got a little time to think on how to approach the subject. I'm waiting till the papers are filed. We have a few more adjustments to make before we can. But I'll figure it out. I appreciate everyone's advice i really do. 

 

DB

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Sorry to hear the news, DB. My parents were atheist/agnostic so didnt have to deal with what you're dealing with. I did get divorced though and that was plenty enough to deal with emotionally. I suppose you could tell them you still believe in Jesus , just some liberal version that pisses off the wife. At some point though, I would think that the truth would get out. 

 

What's gonna happen if , in the future you meet some atheist woman that knocks your socks off? Do you pussy foot around and lie to Mom and pretend she's a Christian when you go for a visit? 

 

Telling the truth releases you from having to make shit up in the future. There's no right or wrong answer, Sir. Play it by ear. Perhaps move far away (if you live close now). I've lived 6 hours from my parents since I was like 20. :) 

 

Anyway, you will survive. You will prevail. Life 2.0 is coming up. :) 

 

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6 hours ago, midniterider said:

Perhaps move far away (if you live close now). I've lived 6 hours from my parents since I was like 20. :) 

 

Nah I couldn't do that. My mom will be upset. But she'll still love me. Whether she chalks it up to once saved always saved or not. We haven't been able to talk much about religion in a long time so I'm hoping things will just continue as normal. And I may be underestimating my mom. Maybe she already suspects...... I guess I'll be finding out soon enough. I'll let yall now how it goes after I tell em. 

 

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It is very hard to say smth without a lot more detail. 

       But you know what is strange? The Gospel itself teaches that one who does not reject his parents in service of the truth is damned. If your parents were comitted Jews, and you converted to Christianity you would probably have much less problems in telling them of your change in faith.

      Idk if you can tell them that but maybe you can say you learned from the Gospel that truth and honesty are more important than anything and this is the lesson you learned from the millions of martyrs who prefered honesty than wealth, family, etc and you expect God to appreciate your honest disbelief than hypocritical belief, like the pharisees. And, as Christians, you expect the same from them. Also the main virtues in Christianity , justice live faith in the victory of good over evil still remain your core values.

      And this divorce, altough painful, is a sign of love and honesty. 

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